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Vaccination in Horses

Like all animal species, horses are vulnerable to a number of potentially fatal diseases. Protection by vaccination is the safest way to ensure your horse will be safe from diseases such as tetanus and strangles.

It’s essential that foals (and adult horses that may not have been vaccinated) are given a course of vaccinations to help them achieve good initial immunity. Ring us for advice - our staff can guide you through the various vaccination options and what’s relevant for the Crookwell district and your horse’s particular environment and lifestyle.

CVH stocks all horse vaccines. The recommended vaccination program for horses from foals to adults is:

Age of your horse

Recommended vaccination

Foals and young horses between 3 and 12 months of age (and previously unvaccinated adult horses)

Tetanus – 2 doses, 4 weeks apart
Strangles – 3 doses, 2 weeks apart
Equine Herpes Virus (EHV)1 – 2 doses, 4 weeks apart

This means, for example, a 12 weeks old foal should have the following vaccination schedule:

12 weeks – tetanus, strangles and EHV
14 weeks – strangles
16 weeks – tetanus, strangles and EHV

Adults and young horses over 12 months of age

Tetanus – give one annual booster after the initial course, then boosters every 5 years
Strangles and EHV – annual boosters

Injured horses and tetanus vaccination and anti-toxin

Tetanus

  1. give vaccinated horses a booster at the time of injury
  2. give non-vaccinated horses or those with an unknown vaccination history BOTH the tetanus vaccination and the tetanus anti-toxin2. Follow up with a second vaccination in 4-6 weeks, a booster in 1 year, then boosters every 5 years

Horses competing or in frequent close contact with other horses in a range of situations

Tetanus – annual booster
Strangles – booster every 6 months
EHV – booster every 6 months

Female breeding horses

Tetanus – annual booster, given in pregnant mares 4 weeks prior to foaling
Strangles – booster every 6 months
EHV – one dose at 5, 7 and 9 months of gestation
NOTE: Hendra vaccine has not been tested in pregnant or breeding horses

Foals and horses from 4 months of age

Hendra virus – 2 doses, 3 weeks apart
Refer to Equine Hendra Virus for more details.

1 Equine Herpes Virus

Equine herpes virus (EHV) is a mild respiratory disease of horses that also causes more serious illness, including abortion and neurological disease. It is most significant in racing and performance horses.

The respiratory symptoms are most commonly seen in foals. Infected foals can recover but continue to carry the virus. This can cause relapses of the disease throughout the horse’s life, with the shedding of the virus leading to new outbreaks of the disease.

Symptoms include pale yellow nasal discharge and enlarged lymph glands under the jaw, some coughing, abortion, and neurological disturbances.

2 Tetanus anti-toxin

The tetanus anti-toxin (as opposed to the vaccination, or tetanus toxoid) provides immediate short term protection against tetanus. When a horse is injured and its vaccination history is unknown, the anti-toxin gives fast immunity and protection. When combined with the tetanus vaccination, the horse gains both immediate and long lasting protection against tetanus.